What do self-care and community-care mean to you?

A black-and-white photograph by Wing Young Huie titled "Hmong Celebration, Frogtown" shows eight Hmong women eating at a table.

Wing Young Huie, Hmong Celebration, Frogtown, 1993, gelatin silver print, Gift of Funds from David L. Parker and Mary M.D. Parker  98.22.4

What does self-care look like now?

Xiaolu Wang
Taking time to apply lotion in the sun. Nap in the sun and follow it in the house. Give myself permission to read, keep 10+ tabs open, and going deep in the rabbit hole of new music, the Criterion channel, watch lists, jokes, bibliography of suicidal writers, blogs that are just recordings of eaves-droppings, watch interviews of Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Donald Glover, and using Japanese reality TV as a mirror and convo starter, and writing prompts for inner prosperity work, talking to crows, not wasting time and heartbeats on the government’s lies and systems, procrastinating on ALL adult responsibilities.

Chamindika Wanduragala
Part of self-care looks like: being okay with not being “productive” at this time.

Kenji Yee
I’m thankful for the sense of purpose that I get through my work, but at the same time I’m trying to not let myself get burned out. It varies every day, and tonight I’m reminding myself that it’s ok to have a second instant ramen with cut-up hot dogs, skip my workout, and watch tv on the couch, and that feels like self-care.

Bao Phi
This is difficult for me to answer, because I’m in the middle of it, and I have no idea if I’m screwing up my self-care or not. I am working from home, and my daughter is remote-learning with me 50 percent of the time. I find myself getting lost in the rhythm of cooking three square meals a day for my child, keeping her on track with her schoolwork, and getting my own work done, and trying to engage as much as I can against the anti-Asian racism and many other societal injustices that are magnified right now. But depending on the day, my capacity for the latter can be quite short. I am trying my best to help magnify the voices of Asian Americans through my work with the unmargin.net collective. But I feel like a pogo stick, honestly.

Kealoha Ferreira
Rice, butter, patis, garlic,
Run, walk, dance, lie
On the couch for days
In the form of coffee, tears, sweat, rain, Mississippi
Oceanic Memories
Glimpses of Grandmaʻs colorful outfits.
Deep Breaths
In the outpouring of beauty, laughter, creation, love
Deep Breaths
In the attacks of fear, scarcity, trauma, hate

I am learning from the Moon and from the Hawaiian Lunar Calendar. There is a usefulness and power to every phase the moon takes, no matter how full or slight her light may be. Itʻs in her darkest phase that she renews herself.

What does caring for and being cared by community look like now?

Xiaolu Wang
Remembering the ones who left us, now and long time ago, folding their spirits and threads into my braids and tongue and breathe out.

Chamindika Wanduragala
Community-care looks like: checking in with folks we’re connected to and spreading the word about support systems that groups are creating at this time, such as MN Immigrant Family Fund — Minnesota COVID-19 Response, a few of the amazing coalition partners, including ReleaseMN8 and Black Immigrant Collective.

Kenji Yee
These times are teaching me what community actually means. I think we are just scratching the surface of creative ways to care for each other from a distance. So far, I’ve seen people dropping gifts off in front of people’s houses, Zoom DJ nights, artist check-ins, social-distancing dates, and farmers distributing seeds to help people grow food. I’ve seen a lot of generosity and kindness, which is inspiring. People ask how you are doing and really mean it. Also, through my work, I’ve met several of my neighbors here in Loring Park, and I can see the seeds for a web of support being planted through these interactions.

Kealoha Ferreira
It was the second week of the stay-at-home order, and I remember peeling myself off of the couch to walk outside for the first time in several days. The sky was gorgeously blue, and as I lifted my eyes to take in its beauty, my balance went askew and I fell over, butt sliding on the grass. It was the expansiveness of the sky that caused me to lose my standing. For a moment I could see, I could almost feel, the extent of the Earthʻs atmosphere. My heart opened in wonder. Being reminded of the vastness of the sky, of the world that I am part of, brought me simultaneous comfort, gratitude, humility. While going outside can be fear-inducing for so many reasons, itʻs been important to remember that there is life force flowing through all living things. Life force that cannot be taken by a pandemic. That is more powerful than hate. Life force that constantly circulates through us and keeps us connected to each other and the vastness of the universe. Caring for and being cared by community right now looks like intentional, expansive breath, every time the heart grips with fear or withers with dismay.